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What Are The Options For Aspergers Treatment?
by Dave Angel
This is a question that I am regularly asked by the readers of the newsletter that I write for parents who have children with Aspergers. The first point to say is that in my opinion the signs of Aspergers can't be "cured" outright. Nor do I think that focusing on "cure" is helpful for parents or children. As to "cure" someone applies that they are somehow ill or sick in the first place. Children with Aspergers are not sick or ill but just different – but only in the way that we are all different and have our own "certain ways". And isn't that what makes the world such an exciting place? But that is a whole discussion in itself and not the focus of this article, so I won't go further off topic now!
That said about "cures", there are a number of options to look at when it comes to Aspergers Treatment. Most children benefit from early specialized interventions that focus on behavior management and social skills training. Many children with Aspergers can learn the unwritten rules of socialization and communication when they are taught in an explicit and rote fashion. Similar to the way students learn foreign languages. Because for children with Aspergers the main challenge is that these types of social skills (such as what to say in certain situations) don't come naturally to them. But children with Aspergers tend to have excellent cognitive ability so can learn these skills just fine with the right "teachers" (this can be in school but even more so at home with family and friends).
Children with Aspergers may also learn how to speak in a more natural rhythm, as well as how to interpret communication techniques used by others, such as gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, humor and sarcasm. Behavior therapy describes numerous techniques aimed at curbing problem behaviors, such as interrupting, obsessions, meltdowns or violent outbursts. Behavior therapies usually focus on training a child to recognize a troublesome situation - such as a new place or an event with lots of social demands - and then select a specific learned strategy to cope with the situation.
One issue for many children with Aspergers is that they may well become prone to anxiety or depression in life. Often this can occur around the time of adolescence when they are really beginning to notice differences with their class mates and peers. So as with anyone experiencing such issues there may be treatments that can be helpful. Some medications may improve specific behaviors, such as anxiety, depression or hyperactivity. This is obviously one to talk to your general medical practitioner about. Although I personally am not big on medication (although in more severe cases it definitely has it's place) so would also look at other forms of treatment such as herbal approaches (like St. John's Wort), homeopathy, helping your child to voice their problems, getting regular exercise etc. to combat the issues.
Treatment for Aspergers often involves a team of professionals that may include a speech and language pathologist, a psychologist, a social worker, a psychiatrist, or a developmental pediatrician, in addition to your child's primary care physician. It's often possible for children with Aspergers to succeed in mainstream schools, with the help of teachers and special education instructors. However, make sure your child's teachers understand how he or she learns best and what situations might be troublesome. In children with Aspergers, high intelligence and good verbal skills can mask areas of real deficiency, so teachers may not realize that special teaching techniques, support services and extra attention are really necessary.
So to summarise this article I would say that there are definitely a number of important Aspergers treatments that can be used to help improve the quality of life for the child and their family. However to my knowledge there is no "cure" for Aspergers and it is my belief that Aspergers is not something that needs to be cured anyway. But treatments such as behavior management, social skills training, speech and language therapy, and appropriate medical/alternative treatments can be very helpful indeed. Both school and home life play a crucial part in co-ordinating and organizing these treatments.
Dave Angel is a social worker with families who have children on the Autistic Spectrum and is the author of a new e-book that answers the 46 most asked questions by parents of children with Asperger's. To claim your free 7 day Mini-Course for parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome visit: http://www.parentingaspergers.com today
Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.